This is a great listener question, and we think the answer applies to all levels, from Beginner up (and don’t worry if you aren’t able to spend as much time on Spanish as this listener – whatever time you have for Spanish is perfect.)
I’m on an upper-intermediate or perhaps low-advanced level of Spanish. I’d like your input if it’s OK. I’ve recently begun spending about 1 hour every day in conversations with native speakers (using italki or baselang). I spend an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour per day reading, listening to podcasts, memorizing words etc. Do you feel like this is enough to bring me to fluency in 6 months or so? I’m still getting stuck in conversations often.
It sounds to me like you are definitely on track to fluency with that approach, keeping things consistent, i.e. making that much time for conversation and other study every day, will help enormously. Language is a curious thing, on the one hand it’s like a muscle that needs feeding and exercising – which is what you are doing – and on the other hand it never develops in a simple, linear way, which is what we’d like.
This means it’s easy to feel stuck for short or even very long periods, like everything is difficult, and then suddenly one day everything feels hugely easy and one feels very fluent – perhaps fluent in speaking, or in listening, or both at once.
What I’m saying is that you are right on track, and at the same time, be patient with yourself. The leaps come by total surprise. Make sure above all that you are enjoying yourself. If at any time you need a day, or a week’s break, take it, sometimes our brain needs a break to learn and assimilate new knowledge quietly on its own in the background. But enjoyment is crucial. Don’t make yourself suffer with the learning, or fluency will take longer to come! It sounds to me like you are having a good time though 🙂
Finally, it’s worth noting that fluency in Spanish (speaking and listening) has good days and bad days. Even after about 20 years of fluency and living in Spain, there are days when I’m tired and I make lots of mistakes or can’t seem to understand what someone is saying!
Saludos from Madrid,